Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

Filters in DV

>Walter Graff commented that :

>>Too bad, you will definitely not get as much out of DV as you will out of Betacam >>

>This is what I thought, but DV as been so oversold as the "miracle" format that there is simply no talking to producers about it. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and most of them can quote a few random stats a quote from Soderberg and it's "end of story."

>I was actually offering her the better camera at the same price; I was trying to help out to make it a better project, but no go, belief in DV is practically religious at this point.

>Not that I'm against it. I just bought one and I love it, but if it can be a better project and they reject the possibilty, then you know there is a perception problem.

>This is a "mini-feature" and it's a PD-150. I'm planning to go with a 1/8th BPM or a 1/4 BPM. Two reasons: this is what I have always used in video before and (unfortunate that it's a reason, but let's be realistic) they are what I already own.

>Any comments on filters in DV?

>It is a romantic story. I've used a very light Soft FX on romantic stories before and loved it.

>Blain

>LA


> A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and most of them can quote a few random >stats a quote from Soderberg and it's "end of story."

>And people yell at me for my 'amateur moviemaker' comment.

>It's a shame that people are being sold a bill of goods. Not that DV is bad, it's not, but it just doesn't have the color rendition nor the aperture look that Betacam does.

>This is a "mini-feature" and it's a PD-150. I'm planning to go with a 1/8th BPM or a >1/4 BPM. Two reasons: this is what I have always used in video before and >(unfortunate that it's a reason, but let's be realistic) they are what I already own.

>I think they are good choices as with the small lens on this body, much more diffusion and you could alter the picture too much and it starts to look bad.

>I'd also carry around a Lee Cinematographers swatch book and do the white balance trick for even better color saturation (e.g. - white balance with 1/8, 1/4, and 1/2 blue and see what happens to the color rendition. Actually any of the light Lee filters in all sorts of varieties and colors, soft pink, etc can create some interesting looks. Funny, I see people buy these $70 'warm white' white balance cards and have to ask myself, why waste your money. Lee makes the same version, its 1/10th the size, fits in your pocket and you don't have to worry about damaging it or loosing it cause its free -the cinematographers swatch book.

>It is a romantic story. I've used a very light Soft FX on romantic stories before and >loved it.

>If ever there was a need to test filter looks, it's with DV. I personally think it's too subjective to offer my opinions on what I like. I like all of your thoughts so would say, see what works best for you. I will add that if you can stay with the darker filters, like black pro mists or black whatever, you might find you can maintain the blacks a bit better since with video it doesn't take much of anything to raise your lower end. This is where the 'through the lens controls' would have been a help with Beta or more industrial DV as you could have crushed blacks a bit more. Doing such with filters allows for a hybrid filter look where you can add a filter, maintain its softness but compensate for the white fuzz it adds to the shot.

>Walter Graff

>NYC


>This is a "mini-feature" and it's a PD-150. I'm planning to go with a 1/8th BPM or a >1/4 BPM. ..Any comments on filters in DV?

>Filtration depends on what the producers plan on doing with the project after it's finished.

>If it's definitely going to be blown up to 35mm (and they already have the money budgeted for it), then turn the sharpness down all the way down in camera menu, and use the lightest grade filtration you can find for close ups and only close ups.

>When DV is blown up to 35mm and projected on a decent sized screen, the results are always disappointing - the wide shots look horribly soft and mushy. The close ups have much more detail than you would expect, but DV seems to emphasize any flaws in the actor's complexion.

>(One the one DV feature I did with the DSR250, which is a shoulder mount version of the PD150, I used a 1/8 and 1/4 Schneider Classic Soft for close ups. Beware of the 1/3" CCDs depth of field allowing you to see the dimpling from the filters - check the image on a monitor.)

>If the project is going to remain on video, then use whatever filtration you would normally use when shooting on video.

>Jessica Gallant

Los Angeles based Director of Photography

http://www.cinematography.net


> Jessica Gallant wrote :

>Filtration depends on what the producers plan on doing with the project after it's >finished.

>Jessica and I had a good e-mail correspondence awhile back about this subject when I was doing a project that could ultimately be transferred to film for projection. Judging from her experience and other research I did, I reasoned NOT to use diffusion in the DV acquisition stage if the project is to be transferred to film for projection or for digital projection. Diffusion can always be done later in post. But it seems to be easily problematic when DV is projected if diffusion filtration is used in the acquisition stage. So if there is any question as to the distribution of the product, I shoot clean and try to help it later in the post.

>Of course, I would always use diffusion in DV acquisition to be distributed via video format and not projected such as tv show segments, commercials, industrials...for the small screen.

>It goes against instinct to not diffuse the scene especially when looking at a monitor which is begging for it but all experience suggests to go without it or very lightly if projection is at all in the future. Call any of the video-to-film transfer houses and get another opinion as well.

>Jim Sofranko

>NY/DP


The esteemed Jim Sofranko wrote :

> Diffusion can always be done later in post.

>Experience has taught me that "can" and "will" are two very very different words.

>If the project can't afford to shoot on film in the first place, they'll be cutting corners in post so it's very likely they won't add any diffusion.

>One the feature I shot on the DSR250, I got a total of 4 hours for color correction for the entire feature! (Ack!) Fortunately, I used in camera diffusion and set the camera up to get as close to the look I wanted in camera.

>If I had decided to preserve maximum image information before shooting, I would have been in serious trouble in post.

Jessica Gallant

Los Angeles based Director of Photography


> then turn the sharpness down all the way down in camera menu,

>OK, I know you Hollywood DP's don't like us small town photographers butting in to your conversations but a quick question if I may. You turn the sharpness (I use a Philips so for me it's Contour) all the way down? I found that turning the Contour to '0' could give the video a pasty look especially to flesh tones. I normally turn down the Contour 20-40% and run the Vertical Contour at 50% of the Horizontal. (And usually use a BPM, WPM or Pro-Mist on the lense, depending on which side of the bed I got out of). So, my question is, do you think I am being to timid in my use of Contour?

>Pete Roberts

>photographer

>Williamsburg, VA


>You turn the sharpness (I use a Philips so for me it's Contour) all the way down? I >found that turning the Contour to '0' could give the video a pasty look especially to >flesh tones.

>Just a thought. We must remember that regardless of where we set our detail, to crystal clear sharpness or a flat soft mushiness, with video we are not changing the resolution. That is always a constant with video. In adjusting those little controls you are attenuating high frequencies which can create the appearance of sharpness or the appearance of softness. The real trick is knowing what that apparent sharpness is going to do down the line. If you're going to big screen, you can encounter some pretty horrible results of too much detail. And the same is true when your going the other way, say to end up on VHS. In setting my levels I often think of where I'm ending up with the material and always make adjustments accordingly. In the end the only rule of thumb I follow is that a soft picture will always look like a soft picture but too much detail and I can end up with things I never wanted so I think that is why most err on the side of caution with too much enhancement.


>...then turn the sharpness down all the way down in (the) camera menu...

>>OK, I know you Hollywood DP's don't like us small town photographers butting in to >your conversations but a quick question if I may. You turn the sharpness (I use a >Philips so for me it's Contour) all the way down?

>I do, but that suggestion was specifically geared towards the consumer-ish PD150 and DSR250, which use the same CCDs, optics and camera menus.I don't think I quite qualify as a "Hollywood DP" - I'm originally from Cleveland and have never shot a studio flick in my life, just independent projects.

Jessica Gallant

Los Angeles based Director of Photography